Satisfying the needs of a growing college campus versus satisfying the wishes of students and faculty.
It’s a balancing act, and one that Palomar College is currently balancing.
For the past 16 years, the Cabinet and Furniture Technology program at Palomar College has taken in donated wood at its storage facility. When nearby cities, citizens or businesses cut down a tree or have extra wood, it’s often delivered to the college’s urban lumber sawmill. However, the sawmill will not be there much longer.
“The program itself is not going away. We’re just moving the facility,” say’s Laura Gropen, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Palomar College.
Palomar College will use the space where the sawmill currently resides to expand the storage area for four career technology programs.
“Auto Technology, Auto Body, Diesel Technology and the Welding program. It will allow us to increase capacity for those extremely popular programs,” Gropen says.
The Welding program currently has 336 students, the Auto and Diesel programs have 669 students, and Cabinet and Furniture Technology program has 666 students.
Jack Stone, a professor in the Cabinet and Furniture Technology, understands the need for campus expansion, but thinks it can be done without removing the urban lumber sawmill. Stone is also concerned about the loss of access to this unique lumber.
“Without the ability to teach hands on how wood is milled, I suppose we could just show them a video, but we’re a hands on organization,” says Stone.
Palomar College administrators maintain the program will still have access to the necessary wood for classes. However, students like Carl Reed have concerns, especially with regards to the programs environmental aspect.
“That program has kept a lot of wood and lumber out of landfills, which has cut down on greenhouse gases. Now all that lumber is going to be going to local landfills and contributing to greenhouse gases,” says Reed.
Gropen mantains that the ultimate goal of this expansion, relocation project is to “serve our students better and the community.”